News, and a thought.

First things first.

I have a piece of erotica up at This- a literary zine. That piece was actually written from a prompt at Sleep. Snort. Fuck.

Next, my angry Black lady story has finally been accepted by someone. I’m so happy about this because I had at least one editor be very uncomfortable with the racism and the violence.

This brings me to the thought of the day. For a long time I resisted my need to be more inclusive with my writing. I censored my own voice and was hesitant to write about things that I know make people uncomfortable. I let that go at some point after an extraordinarily unprofessional “editor” called me an awful person for little more than offending her sensibilities.

I want to say that was in ’07 or so and since I let it go.

Fuck em.

In other news I’m also going to be up at Scars.tv in Children, Churches and Daddies. I really love their approach of giving authors many opportuities based on single acceptances. It’s something I remember from my days as a shy baby author and when I was (when I was say 17-21) trying to make myself want to play in the local literary pool with what I thought were the cool kids.

My other thought for the day is that it continues to amaze and delight me when I am really true to my own voice and trust that yes, I do have a voice- when things work for me.

I’ve been keeping some notes about my submissions in general terms and I’ve found that almost all of the things that editors have given me, have been on pieces that I only edited lightly. By lightly I mean that I do spell and grammar checks. Then grammar check again because that’s my weakness. Those are the stories that editors have really enjoyed.

When I fuss over stories too much I ruin them.

I think I’ve developed this because I spent a lot of time writing in secret and feeling awfully paranoid about anyone finding out/reading it so I learned to write exactly what I want to say the first time. I may get bogged down while I’m writing something, but once it’s done it’s done and I need to remind myself (or ask my best friend and adviser in all things creative) to stop fucking with something.

Later this week I want to talk about why I’ve done Nanowrimo the last few years and what I’ve learned about my own process. So here’s a snippet from what I started last year. On another read all these months later I still love this universe and will make an effort to finish this book.

A long snippet.


After Nathaniel had read the prophecy and lost his mind something from the depth had come for Jonathan while his mind was cracking. It cajoled him with a promise of untold power and ever lasting life. Jonathan said yes. His price was to destroy the prophecy and then the Magian. He wanted badly to have done with it and dispose of the children before they came to full power and began the era.

Eliot spoke in a dry terrified whisper.

“Jonathan.”

All eyes turned to him and the creature that had once been Jonathan smiled wider.

“Oh yes. You are the dark one. Dirty little urchin. I will enjoy feeding your soul to my master.”

Eliot trembled and Henry barked.

“You do not talk to him that way.”

Before Tamiel could give the word the boys power rose. Terror and rage unified them in that moment and the air around them grew thick with static, the dogs took off as a flash of bright light illuminated the room like lightening. Jonathan had not been prepared and he wailed in surprise and pain.

The light where it touched his face made it sizzle, the reek of half rotted cooking meat rolled from his body and he roared in rage. Grandfather joined his power to the boys and Tamiel did the same, his pale gray eyes blazing with their own inner light. Within the chaos of the howling wind and driving rain the kitchen suddenly went still, Grandfather was screaming a name none of the other men recognized and a voice came from outside.

Grandfather had used his last trick, his last effort to call the goddess who spoke to him in the night and owned his soul. Behind Johnathan the sky turned dark and arms began to come around his smoking gyrating body. The voice that spoke was both a scream and a whisper.

“I will aid you now but remember, you are mine.”

Tamiel turned away and leaped to shield the faces of the children from the visage of Kali-ma. He had never been so afraid of a divine creature in his life. The dogs cowered as Johnathan disappeared into the maw of Kali.

The bracelets on her many arms tinkled in cheery counterpoint to Johnathan’s fading anguished screams. Slowly the rain ceased and the light behind the eight limbed woman brightened. She walked inside, she was barefoot and her brown skin seemed to glow. Grandfather prostrated himself before his goddess.

“Rise old man. It is not your time yet. Let me see these children.”

Tamiel reluctantly uncovered the boys eyes and moved aside. Their fathers stood agape, shaking and ash faced. Kali smiled, leaning over to examine the children in turn.

“Hello little brothers. I see you already draw the attention of wicked men.”

Eliot, ever the polite boy nodded.

“Yes ma’am.”

Henry for all his charms was too starstruck to say anything, he thought she was beautiful and blushed from the top of his head all the way into his collar. Kali chuckled and she sound made the house tremble like a leaf.

“Oh, precious child.”

She caressed their cheeks with her long fingers and the boys terror evaporated. The air around them became dense, as if she had wrapped them in cotton batting. She spoke seriously not, looking them each in the eye.

“Your lives may be frightening but you must survive. Many things rest in your hands. It is a great responsibility. Do you understand?”

The boys nodded and reached out, for the moment they were transported back to toddler hood when all they had to do for comfort was to reach for their mothers. Arms enfolded the boys and brought them close to her bare breasts, they laid their cheeks against her hot flesh.

Henry looked up at her with tears in his eyes.

“Mother, I am so scared.”

Eliot nodded in agreement. Kali, gentle now held them tight.

“I know. Learn to harness your powers and when you need me, or your children need me I will come.”

All at once they were back in the corner and she was across the room in the door, pointing at them.

About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie. View all posts by Shannon Barber

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